1/10: MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY

JOLTS:  November job openings fell 3.4 percent to 6.9 million vs. 6.0 million unemployed

The number of job openings fell 3.4 percent to 6.9 million on the last business day of November, with hires falling 4.2 percent to 5.3 million, quits down 3.2 percent to 3.4 million and total separations falling 2.0 percent to 5.5 million.



December Small Business Optimism Index slips 0.4 points to 104.4

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index remained basically unchanged in December, drifting down 0.4 points to 104.4. Unfilled jobs and the lack of qualified applicants continue to be a primary driver, with job openings setting a record high and job creation plans strengthening.



Mortgage applications rise 23.5 percent as rates fall to lowest level since last April

The Market Composite Index increased 23.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with refinances rising 35 percent and purchase loans up 17 percent. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 59 percent compared with the previous week and was 4 percent higher than the same week one year ago.  The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to its lowest level since April 2018, 4.74 percent.